On A Hinge Of History: The Mutual Vulnerability Of South And North

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On A Hinge Of History: The Mutual Vulnerability Of South And North

By Ivan L. Head
University of Toronto Press, 1991
244 pp. $35.00
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The "hinge" of the title is created by threats to the environment, the "potentially irremediable" results of nuclear war, and the existence of enough resources and knowledge to show that "human misery will henceforth be the result of human indifference." Nevertheless, the governments of industrial countries do seem indifferent to "the extraordinary imbalance . . . between North and South" and the resulting dangers. Using a wide range of historical and contemporary data, Head argues for a new social contract "based on scientific reality and tempered by humanitarian constraints." This often eloquent book combines realism and idealism, runs from alarm to a certain optimism, and steers fairly clear of the oversimplification that usually besets writing in this field. The author was an adviser on foreign affairs to Prime Minister Trudeau and then head of the International Development Research Center in Ottawa.

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